What is it?
Germany’s ‘big three’ have had the compact SUV market pretty effectively cornered for most of this decade. When the Range Rover Evoque came along, however, it proved how well an interesting premium alternative could go down among the segment’s buyers – and this year, three other debutants will seek to emulate similar success.
So far, we've had preliminary drives in all of them – the DS 7 Crossback, Jaguar E-Pace and this, the Volvo XC40 – but have yet to run the road test ruler over any of them in greater detail. If you’re in the market, don’t worry: that last situation will change very soon.
Volvo has proven particularly successful at pitching good-looking alternative SUVs at the German mainstream options of late, and you might even call the XC40 an unlikely improvement in its already rich vein of form. This is a really striking and bold design with a character all of its own, unlike the 'Russian doll’ Audi Q3.
You’ll eventually be able to buy the XC40 with a choice of three turbocharged petrol and two diesel engines, with a choice of two or four driven wheels and effectively in six different trim levels, but the earliest XC40s offered for sale in the UK will be fully loaded 247bhp 2.0-litre T5 AWD petrol, or 187bhp 2.0-litre D4 AWD diesel, First Edition models. Our first taste of the car on UK roads came in one of the diesels.